JANUARY 08, 2019



AUSTIN - State Rep. Ryan Guillen, D-Rural South Texas, filed legislation Tuesday allowing students to receive high school credit for American Sign Language courses taken in elementary school.

"Over four million people in Texas are deaf or hard of hearing," said Guillen. "That means there are millions of children that need ASL education or already speak it. This legislation will expand educational opportunities for Texas kids."


The Texas Education Code currently allows elementary school foreign language programs, such as Spanish, to be recognized in high school, where two credits in a foreign language is required. Students in these foreign language programs are able to take more advanced language classes or skip them altogether, making room for other classes. Under current law, ASL courses taken in elementary school do not count towards high school requirements.


Guillen's bill would allow elementary school ASL courses to count towards high school credit, which he says will encourage students to take ASL courses early on.


"This legislation would recognize the needs of the deaf community and provide more language and educational options for them. It's a win-win."


The bill still has to go through committee before it can be considered by the full House.


Serving ten rural South Texas counties in the Texas House of Representatives, Ryan Guillen is known for his hard work, fierce independence, and relentless efforts for South Texas families. Recently, Capitol Inside called him a “House Bill Machine,” and a “one-person assembly line for legislation.” Since elected, few other legislators have passed more bills than Guillen. Sign up for updates at,, and